Event review: Hamilton Rods & Rockabilly Festival

Yes, I know it’s a couple of weeks after the fact, but I wanted to add a quick review of the most recent rockabilly festival and car show before we head into the new cycle of events next month.

Rods and Rockabilly, which was held on the 29th April, has consistently been one of my favourite events since it started four years ago. It’s well-run, lots of fun, good markets, artwork, food, excellent bands, and an even better atmosphere. I think it’s an added bonus that the hotel puts on an evening event too, but I sadly haven’t been able to make it to one of these… yet (there’s always 2018 to hope for).

If the weather’s good (let’s never speak of the great wash out of 2014 again – but even that was fun), the event is the perfect shopping, dancing, and socialising day for people in the Kustom Kulture.

This year, the daytime carpark party had free entry, which was excellent and I am sure encouraged more people through the gates. It makes sense to make the markets/bands and first two rounds of the pinup pageant are free to get into, and free entry means it won’t just be folks from our community, it also gives ‘normal’ people a chance to get involved too.

I worked with The Family Dynamite (Exploding Plastic, Mamar Dynamite, and Papa Dynamite) in their market stall, and doubled as a member of the cheer squad for Citrine Velvetine who was in the pinup pageant.

My outfit: Shorts by Mamar Dynamite
Shoes from BAIT
Brooch from Exploding Plastic
Picture by Pandom Images


The pageant is one of the best local shows we have and every year it attracts so many amazing pinups. Hosted by the amazing Bettie Butcher, the girls strut their stuff through three categories which are spaced out over the course of the day. I love the way this is done because means each stage of the pageant is an event in itself that pretty much everyone stops to watch, but it also gives the girls a chance to regroup between categories, and be involved in the other events happening over the day.


The gorgeous pinups
Picture by Bill Struthers Photography


Because of the big crowd, I think it’s a show that comes with lots of nerves and excitement, and my only critique of the pageant is that it might have put the girls more at ease if there’d been some background music while they’re out on the dance floor strutting their stuff and doing their poses. The music during the day is so great and puts a real bounce in everyone’s step, so I can only imagine some fun rockabilly beats would have added to the show.

This year, the girls who were a part of the wildcard competition (the last spot to the pageant goes to the girl who can get the most votes via Facebook), were invited to be in a pinup parade, which I think was a nice touch and gave everyone a chance to show off their gorgeous outfits. I hope this will be incorporated into each year’s event.

Overall, this year’s Rods kept it firmly at the top of my list of Rockabilly events and I can’t wait for 2018! If you want to get a reminder for next year’s event, make sure you’re following the Rods and Rockabilly Facebook page by clicking here. 

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